Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Connected, An Interactive Experience

"Connected : The Interactive Experience" is the story of a man named Jacob who has shut himself off relationally from the world around him. As Jacob faces moments from his past that have caused him to isolate himself, he is awakened to deeper levels of intimacy in his current reality. But Jacob isn't the only one journeying into his memory. Through the use of technology, The Guide invites each audience member on a unique, introspective journey into their own emotional, physical and relational past. This illuminating process of discovery will welcome the audience into introspective and interactive moments that will surely be risky, challenging, humorous and healing. This 60 minute theatrical experience combines drama, choreography and technology to connect the audience with the performers on stage, with one another and to the deepest parts of themselves.

I first learned about "Connected" when I went to Cole NeSmith's Facebook page to ask him about "The Tree of Light". It turns out that "The Tree of Light" will be installed at Lake Eola on a cement pier that juts out into the lake on the Roseland Avenue side. The tree is just on hold until Cole finishes his work on "Connected."  When I asked Cole if he felt that the Connected rehearsals are "sketchable", he replied, "Yes, stop on by tonight!"

The rehearsal was at Downtown Credo (706 W Smith Street). Credo is a coffee shop in College Park where you pay what you want for your hot cup of Joe. I couldn't imagine a dance rehearsal in a coffee shop so I had to see for myself. When I arrived, I noticed the dancers warming up in a back room. Holly Harris, the choreographer told me I could sketch from anywhere. I couldn't place Holly, but she later let me know that she did the choreography for "The Pink Ribbon Project" which I had sketched. There was a couch in the room where the dancers were warming up so that is where I ended up. The cushions kept me from moving my arm as I drew, so I sat on the arm of the couch and moved the back cushion for freedom of movement.

In the first dance sequence, Cole sat in the center of the room wearing headphones and sunglasses. He held a flashlight which illuminated the ceiling. Dancers explored and swirled around him essentially guiding away from his insular world. Holly explained that some of the dancers would be holding canvas panels which would catch the shadows cast by fellow dancers. The dance studio was dark and Cole began to explore the edges of the staging area which meant he would be interacting with the audience. At one point, he lit up my sketch pad and looked down in wonder.

The second dance sequence was even more complicated. Dancers walked along diagonal lines and then froze for a moment while Cole moved among them. Later a group of four dancers stood center stage and individual dancers would move between them being tuned and toned through touch in a swift staccato factory styling before moving off refreshed and invigorated. Holly explained that these central dancers were "teaching people to connect."

Connected will be premiering at the Green Venue at the Orlando International Fringe Festival in May. Tickets are $9 plus a Fringe button which is good for all the Fringe shows. Mark your calendar and get Connected!
  • Thursday 17 May; at 7:45pm
  • Saturday 19 May; at 8:30pm
  • Sunday 20 May; at 11:30am
  • Monday 21 May; at 5:45pm
  • Tuesday 22 May; at 8:45pm
  • Friday 25 May; at 10:15pm
  • Saturday 26 May; at 2:45pm

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

No comments: